Some people get ready for Shavuot by making blintzes. Some draft notes on the text to be taught or learned in the wee hours of the morning at one of the all-night sessions during which the giving of the Torah at Sinai is celebrated through study.
And some congregate on Twitter, the micro-blogging website on which posts can be no longer than 140 characters, composing their own tweets of Torah, reading others’ efforts and furiously re-tweeting.
When Yeshivat Maharat, the school that trains Orthodox women as spiritual and halachic leaders, started last fall to plan its first public symposium, Dean Rabba Sara Hurwitz planned to call the event “Menstruation, Sexuality and Modesty,” but was persuaded to drop the idea.
“We thought nobody would turn up for that,” she said.
Last Friday after sunset, Jewish worshipers recited the traditional prayer over the counting of the Omer, the seven-week period between the second day of Passover and Shavuot. The count that night was 42. Or it could have been Jackie Robinson, Ronnie Lott or Connie Hawkins, depending on if you were a baseball, football or basketball fan.
A mother’s offhand comment here about the need for a place for Jewish children with autism has, 15 years later, spurred an international research center.
In 1997, the mother of two young special-needs children who lives in the New York area told Joshua Weinstein, a veteran educator with a Ph.D. in special education who was serving as CEO of a local health care agency, that no major program for Jewish children with various forms of autism existed.
The central character in the newest novel by Thane Rosenbaum — lawyer, law professor, author, moderator of an annual discussion series at the 92nd Street Y — is a 12-year-old daughter of divorced parents who shuttles between mother and father via the Brooklyn Bridge. The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, she learns about her grandmother’s wartime experiences while juggling such issues as homelessness and 9/11, divorce and fashion.